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O.C. All-County softball team: First Team
The Register’s All-County softball team.
Mission Viejo, OF, Jr.
Orange Lutheran, P, Jr.
Los Alamitos, P, Jr.
The hard-throwing right-hander led the Griffins to a Dave Kops Tournament of Champions title in March and to the CIF-SS Division 1 semifinals. Denhart won 14 games in the circle, posted a 1.18 ERA and averaged better than a strikeout per inning.
Mater Dei, P, Sr.
The senior was spectacular down the stretch, notching five wins against league champions in the playoffs to lead Mater Dei to its first CIF-SS title since 1998. Sandoval did not allow a single earned run in 35 postseason innings, tossing three shutouts and holding the top-two seeded teams, Etiwanda and Orange Lutheran, to nine combined hits. She went 18-3 with a 1.74 ERA.
Mission Viejo, P, Jr.
Snyder was one of the area’s top two-way players, winning 17 games in the circle, while batting .373. Her changeup was one of the most devastating strikeout pitches in the county, and it was crucial to Mission Viejo’s ability to capture its second Division 2 title in three seasons.
Orange Lutheran, C, Jr.
The bigger the moment, the better Espalin played. The junior belted two of the county’s most dramatic home runs: a walk-off grand slam against Mission Viejo in the Carew Classic, and a two-run shot against Los Alamitos in the Division 1 semifinals. Espalin finished the season with a .333 average, 32 RBI and threw out better than 50 percent of base runners.
Mater Dei, 1B, Sr.
The heart of the Monarchs’ championship-winning lineup led the squad in average (.462), RBI (33) and doubles (11). The George Washington commit played her best when it mattered most, tallying five hits against Norco and Orange Lutheran in the semifinals and CIF-SS title game.
Orange Lutheran, Inf., Sr.
No one made more highlight-worthy defensive plays than the slick-fielding shortstop. Boesel was just as good at the plate, leading Orange Lutheran with a .418 batting average and 46 hits, while finishing second in RBI (32) and runs scored (35). The Trinity League MVP will attend South Carolina next season.
Capistrano Valley, Inf., So.
One of the county’s brightest young stars followed up a tremendous freshman campaign by posting a team-best .522 average, 30 runs and 20 RBI in addition to her strong defensive play at shortstop and second base. Twenty-five of her 47 hits went for extra bases.
Huntington Beach, Inf., Sr.
The shortstop was one of the area’s most well-rounded players. The Stanford-bound senior led Huntington Beach with 36 hits, 32 RBI and six home runs. She was also one of four Oilers regulars to hit better than .400.
Orange Lutheran, OF, Fr.
She might named the state’s freshman of the year, and it would be tough to debate the election. Briggs stepped right into the spotlight and electrified in her debut campaign, showing endless range in center while batting .387 and leading Orange Lutheran in RBI (33) and extra base hits (23).
Los Alamitos, OF, Sr.
One of the top athletes in the county, Holcomb possessed arguably the best range of any outfielder in the area. The Tennessee-bound leadoff hitter batted .322 and wreaked havoc on the base paths with her elite speed.
Pacifica, OF, Sr.
The Empire League MVP capped her stellar Pacifica career with a .484 batting average, and continued to play top-notch defense. The Arizona-bound senior has been one of the county’s top catchers for the past four seasons, but she also played well in center field at certain points this spring.
Los Alamitos, DH, Jr.
One of the most feared hitters in the county is also one of its top catchers. The Sunset League MVP finished with eight home runs and a .426 batting average. Iakopo will return as one of the state’s top recruits in 2017.
Capistrano Valley, DH, Sr.
The regular-season home run leader racked up 11 home runs, hit .402 and led the Cougars in runs scored (33) and RBI (31). Her 22 extra-base hits was among the county leaders. Gjertsen won eight games in the circle and excelled at shortstop.
Mission Viejo, Utility, So.
The versatile sophomore split time at catcher and outfield, and was a consistent producer at the plate. McGowan led a potent Mission Viejo lineup with 33 RBI, and was second in average (.402), home runs (10) and runs (24).
Savanna, Utility, Sr.
Worley finished a marvelous high school career with what is probably one of the best individual seasons in CIF-SS history. The shortstop hit .769, racked up 80 base hits, scored 73 runs and swiped 67 bases for a 30-win Rebels team. Her hits, runs and stolen base numbers are all top-five marks for an individual in Southern Section history.
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